Title: Wizard Seeking Rogue

Summary: Artie reaches out to New Direction's newest member, and finds that a little kindness goes a long way. Artie + Blaine friendship, 3.02 spoilers.

He looks so sad, standing there all alone in front of his locker, looking for all the world like a lost, scolded puppy. Artie hasn't really given two thoughts about the newest member of New Directions until he auditioned for the musical, but now that he's noticed him he can't help but feel like maybe he should have been a little more welcoming. He just looks so alone at that moment, and it occurs to Artie that, actually, he sort of is. Kurt is still in class and won't be out until Glee practice, and outside of Kurt, has anyone actually bothered to talk to the new kid?

What he means to say next is "You should really audition for Tony because you'd be fantastic at it" or maybe even "do you play Halo? You look like you play Halo. We should game sometime."

What he ends up saying instead, though, is this: "You're not actually happy here, are you?"

Blaine looks stricken with shock, like he can't believe someone who isn't Kurt is actually talking to him. "What are you talking about?"

"You. You seem…miserable, actually."

"What are you talking about, I'm fine." He gives off a fake laugh, putting his books back into his locker. But then he stops, like he's tired of lying, before he turns and looks Artie in the eye. "Actually, you're right: I'm pretty miserable. I don't have any friends here, everyone in New Directions seems to hate me, and all I've done is make Kurt's life harder since I transferred, which is the exact opposite of what I wanted. The only bright side is that none of the jocks seem to have realized that there's another gay kid at this school, which is funny because I haven't exactly been trying to hide it."

Artie frowns. "We don't hate you."

Blaine raised his eyebrow, like he didn't actually believe him. "Really."

"We don't. We're…we're scared of you."

Blaine slammed his locker closed with a surprising amount of force, before turning and walking in the opposite direction. "Scared of what?"

Artie shrugged before wheeling himself behind the brunette, not wanting to end their conversation just yet. "Mr. Schue has a terrible habit of only focusing on one or two talented singers and ignoring the rest of us. You came in sounding like a male Rachel Berry and actually got the rest of the school to like your song, so the rest of us started worrying that we'll never sing again. It's not really anything personal."

Blaine slows down, letting Artie catch up and wheel himself beside him. "Believe it or not, but I'm not actually an attention whore. Yes, I sang lead for the Warblers, but I'm not—I only did it because they asked me to. I like singing. I'm good at singing. I'm not trying to step on anyone's toes, but why should I be punished for doing something I'm good at?" Blaine sighed, making his way down the crowded McKinley hallway. "I'm not Rachel: I don't really care about solos that much, not really. I don't really know if singing is what I want for the rest of my life. I just know that for right now, I want to sing, and I want you people to like me."

"You're lonely?"

"Yes." Blaine nearly collapses with relief. "Don't get me wrong: I have Kurt, and he makes it so very worth it, but we aren't actually in many classes together because I'm a junior and he's a senior. Most of the other kids won't talk to me because I'm a glee loser, but the glee kids won't talk to me either so it's just…difficult."

Artie winces, feeling…well, awful. He didn't think about that. "I'm so sorry. I—I should have been more welcoming."

But Blaine just smiles, which makes Artie feel like he might be forgiven. "It's okay. You're talking to me now, aren't you?" But then Blaine stops walking, and Artie has to stop himself from wheeling into him. "Wait, why are you talking to me?"

"Well, originally I wanted to talk to you about the musical, but then you looked so sad. And that made me realize that I haven't exactly been friendly with you before now, and I should have. So…forgive me?"

Blaine smiles. "Of course."

They stroll in companionable silence for a few minutes before Artie asks him if he plays Halo.

Blaine blushes just slightly. "Actually, I'm more of an RPG guy, personally."

Artie stops in the middle of the hallway, placing his hand on Blaine and stopping him. "Dude. D&D?"

Blaine's face turns really, really red. "Well, a little. I mean, not a lot, but sometimes at Dalton we would—"

"Dude. My house, Saturday, 2 o'clock. You are so playing with us."

Blaine laughs. "Oh, am I now?"

"Yes. You'll love it—Lauren Zizes is our DM, and she's heartless. It's fantastic. Plus, Mike and Tina will be there! It'll be great. We can just…hang out and be nerds and stuff. It'll be fun. Besides, we need a rogue."

Blaine rolled his eyes. "And you just assume I want to play a rogue?"

"Well, I always play druid, Mike plays cleric, Tina is a paladin, and Lauren is a barbarian. What class do you usually play?"

Blaine grins. "Ranger or bard. Think I could join your party?"

Artie pats him on the back and smiles. "Man, you are going to fit in so well."